adjective, scant·i·er, scant·i·est.

scant in amount, quantity, etc.; barely sufficient.
meager; not adequate.
lacking amplitude in extent or compass.

noun, plural scant·ies.

scanties, very brief underpants, especially for women.

Origin of scanty

1650–60; scant + -y1; (def 4) blend of scanty and panties
Related formsscant·i·ly, adverbscant·i·ness, nounun·scant·y, adjective

Synonyms for scanty

1, 2. Scanty, meager, sparse refer to insufficiency or deficiency in quantity, number, etc. Scanty denotes smallness or insufficiency of quantity, number, supply, etc.: a scanty supply of food. Meager indicates that something is poor, stinted, or inadequate: meager fare; a meager income. Sparse applies particularly to that which grows thinly or is thinly strewn or sown, often over a wide area: sparse vegetation; a sparse population.

Antonyms for scanty Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scanty

Contemporary Examples of scanty

Historical Examples of scanty

  • Nothing had been added to her scanty wardrobe in that time but a black frock.

    Rico and Wiseli

    Johanna Spyri

  • By degrees, however, his eyes became accustomed to the scanty light.

    Biographical Stories

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • As Baucis had said, there was but a scanty supper for two hungry travellers.

    The Miraculous Pitcher

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • These computations were correct as far as they went, but they were scanty.

    Flying Machines

    W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell

  • The other members of the Poorhouse had scanty faith in that red flannel.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

British Dictionary definitions for scanty


adjective scantier or scantiest

limited; barely enough; meagre
insufficient; inadequate
lacking fullness; small
Derived Formsscantily, adverbscantiness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for scanty

1650s, "meager, barely sufficient for use;" 1701, "too small, limited in scope," from scant + -y (2). Related: Scantiness (1560s). Scanties (n.) "underwear" (especially for women) attested from 1928.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper